BIRDATHON and the OK Big Day

2017 BIRDATHON

BIG DAY!

Sunday, April 30

It is time!

What is BIRDATHON?

The Payne County Audubon Society generally relies on ONE fundraising event each year: BIRDATHON! Our ability to provide thoughtful programming and sponsor research, education, and conservation in our community stems directly from the support we receive during BIRDATHON.  Please give generously, and rest assured that your contributions will come right back to the community.

Screen shot 2015-03-26 at 8.44.41 PMBIRDATHON works like any other sponsored endurance event: Volunteer birders spend a set amount of time in the field trying to find as many different species of birds as possible during the allotted time.  Sponsors pledge a monetary donation to reward the effort either as a flat sum or, for added incentive to excel, on a per species basis.  For example, if a birder finds 100 species and a sponsor has pledged $1.00 per species, then the sponsor will make a $100.00 donation to the PCAS. The birder must work very hard to maximize each pledge by finding many species, the sponsor will be pleased to see the results of that hard work, and the PCAS can continue the great work we do in central Oklahoma.

BIRDATHON can take place any day in April or May, anywhere in the world, and for whatever period of time the birder likes.  Most will do a 24-hour period, but there is no reason not to extend that to a weekend, week, month, or the entire 2 month period. Have fun with it!

For some added excitement from a bit of competition, birders may opt to participate in BIRDATHON during our OK Big Day generally held on a weekend in late April. The PCAS OK Big Day is a classic birding big day competition in which teams compete head-to-head to find the most species of birds from midnight to 6:00 pm, culminating in a tally rally to declare the winners. Teams compete in several categories including overall high count (open to anyone in Oklahoma with teams phoning in their results by 6:00 pm), Payne County high count for people who limit their wanderings to within our home county, and non-motorized for birders who travel only by bicycle, on foot, or on horseback.

2017 OK Big Day – Rules and details

We will hold our OK Big Day competition on SUNday, April 30.

The OK Big Day will begin after midnight on the 29th, and teams of birders will scour fields and forests and everything in between to find as many species as possible before converging on Boomer Lake for the awards ceremony at 6 pm.

Screen shot 2015-03-26 at 8.36.53 PM

BIRDATHON can take place anywhere and on any day in April or May. The OK Big Day is just one day selected within the larger BIRDATHON fund-raising season during which we can have some fun with head-to-head competition and encourage folks to raise money for BIRDATHON. No one has to participate in the OK Big Day; it is a fully optional way to participate in BIRDATHON.

Above all, you don’t need to be an expert birder to compete. You just have to want to get out, have fun, and see some birds while raising money for a great cause!

OK Big Day awards:

  • 1st place for most species encountered overall, anywhere in the state
  • 1st place for those who just stay in Payne County
  • 1st place for those who opt to walk or bicycle only

Specific Instructions and Rules of the Game:

  • Beginning as early as 12:01 on the 30th, teams can bird anywhere they like, finding as many species as possible, until 6:00 pm. By 6:00 pm, all teams converge on a central location* for the “tally-rally” and awards party. (*We’ll use a Boomer Lake pavilion if the weather looks good; stay tuned for final details on the Tally Rally location; out-of-town teams can just report their totals via telephone [405-338-8764], email, or simply post results to the PCAS Facebook group.)
  • teams must register with Tim O’Connell (preferably by email: tim.oconnell@okstate.edu; 405-338-8764) by Fri, Apr. 28.
  • teams can have a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 5 members.
  • at least 50% of the team members must identify each species counted, e.g., both members on a team of 2; 2/3 on a team of 3; 3/4 of 4; 3/5 of 5.
  • team members cannot split up to cover more ground; as a general guide, members should never be more than shouting distance away from each other.
  • birds can be identified by sight or sound.    *no artificial devices (electronic or otherwise) can be used to lure birds in.
  • only American Birding Association (ABA) “countable” North American species can be included, e.g., no “domestic chickens”.
  • team members must follow the ABA Code of Ethics: http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html.

To Prepare for the OK Big Day

The most important thing to do to prepare to compete in the OK Big Day is to form a team and start collecting pledges now. Most donors will be happy to pledge an amount per species. For example, if your team finds 100 species of birds, a 10-cent pledge works out to a $10 donation. Some donors will pledge a flat amount, regardless of how many species your team finds.

Donations are super-easy – and tax-deductible!  Just visit the Donations page here and follow the instructions.  Be sure to tell your sponsors that for you to get the credit for their donation, they will need to enter that information in the Special Instructions dialog box.

For teams that gather no pledges, we suggest a donation from the team of $10/team member. Above all, BIRDATHON is a fundraiser, and the only one we hold each year.

 

Registered Teams for the 2017 Big Day competition:

 

 


Read about some other big day competitions:

The Birding Cup, Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center

World Series of Birding

Great Texas Birding Classic

Cornell Lab of Ornithology – the Texas Big Day Team

 


Results from the 2016 OK Big Day!

Registered Teams for 2016

Heavy Metal-larks: Sam Cady, Cindy Park, Caitlin Laughlin, Eric Duell, and Tim O’Connell

Booby Patrol: Roy Cruz, Chris Williams, and Josh Engelbert

Little Rufous Corvette: Medhavi Ambadar, Madeleine Naylor, Ashley Love, Kaati Schreier, and Matt Waselik.

The Pterodactyls: Leslie Miller and Helen Jordan

Losscaws: Scott and Sara Loss

Special Guest Stars – Cameron Smithee & fiance’, reporting from Cimarron County!

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 10.37.15 PM
Roy Cruz, Chris Williams, and Josh Engelbert celebrate Team Booby Patrol’s victory with 134 species on the day!

The OK Big Day was held Saturday, April 30, 2016. It was cool, cloudy, and windy in the morning, and most jackets weren’t shed until 4:00 pm. Recent rains have filled rivers and wetlands, leaving very little shorebird habitat. Our mild winter and spring left us little in the way of waterfowl either. Nonetheless, our teams did well. Special congratulations go to Team Booby Patrol who won the competition outright with 134 species!  This just might be a new record for Payne County!

Combining Booby Patrol’s list with those of other teams, we collectively encountered and amazing 151 species in Payne County!  This makes 150 do-able for a single team in the future  . . .

  1. Canada Goose
  2. Wood Duck
  3. Mallard
  4. Mallard (Domestic type)
  5. Gadwall
  6. Blue-winged Teal
  7. Northern Shoveler
  8. Redhead
  9. Ring-necked Duck
  10. Ruddy Duck
  11. Wild Turkey
  12. Northern Bobwhite
  13. Pied-billed Grebe
  14. Eared Grebe
  15. Neotropic Cormorant
  16. Double-crested Cormorant
  17. American Bittern
  18. Great Blue Heron
  19. Great Egret
  20. Snowy Egret
  21. Cattle Egret
  22. Green Heron
  23. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
  24. White-faced Ibis
  25. Black Vulture
  26. Turkey Vulture
  27. Osprey
  28. Mississippi Kite
  29. Bald Eagle
  30. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  31. Cooper’s Hawk
  32. Red-shouldered Hawk
  33. Broad-winged Hawk
  34. Swainson’s Hawk
  35. Red-tailed Hawk
  36. Sora
  37. American Coot
  38. Killdeer
  39. Spotted Sandpiper
  40. Upland Sandpiper
  41. Solitary Sandpiper
  42. Lesser Yellowlegs
  43. Baird’s Sandpiper
  44. Least Sandpiper
  45. Semipalmated Sandpiper
  46. Wilson’s Phalarope
  47. Franklin’s Gull
  48. Forster’s Tern
  49. Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
  50. Eurasian Collared-Dove
  51. Mourning Dove
  52. Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  53. Greater Roadrunner
  54. Great Horned Owl
  55. Barred Owl
  56. Chuck-wills-widow
  57. Chimney Swift
  58. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  59. Belted Kingfisher
  60. Red-headed Woodpecker
  61. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  62. Downy Woodpecker
  63. Hairy Woodpecker
  64. Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)
  65. Pileated Woodpecker
  66. American Kestrel
  67. Merlin
  68. Peregrine Falcon
  69. Eastern Wood-Pewee
  70. Least Flycatcher
  71. Eastern Phoebe
  72. Great Crested Flycatcher
  73. Western Kingbird
  74. Eastern Kingbird
  75. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
  76. Loggerhead Shrike
  77. White-eyed Vireo
  78. Yellow-throated Vireo
  79. Blue-headed Vireo
  80. Bell’s Vireo
  81. Warbling Vireo (Eastern)
  82. Red-eyed Vireo
  83. Blue Jay
  84. American Crow
  85. Fish Crow
  86. Horned Lark
  87. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  88. Purple Martin
  89. Tree Swallow
  90. Bank Swallow
  91. Barn Swallow
  92. Cliff Swallow
  93. Carolina Chickadee
  94. Tufted Titmouse
  95. White-breasted Nuthatch
  96. House Wren
  97. Marsh Wren
  98. Sedge Wren
  99. Carolina Wren
  100. Bewick’s Wren
  101. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  102. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  103. Eastern Bluebird
  104. Swainson’s Thrush
  105. American Robin
  106. Gray Catbird
  107. Brown Thrasher
  108. Northern Mockingbird
  109. European Starling
  110. Cedar Waxwing
  111. Louisiana Waterthrush
  112. Black-and-white Warbler
  113. Prothonotary Warbler
  114. Orange-crowned Warbler
  115. Nashville Warbler
  116. Kentucky Warbler
  117. Common Yellowthroat
  118. Northern Parula
  119. Yellow Warbler
  120. Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)
  121. Blackpoll Warbler
  122. Yellow-throated Warbler
  123. Yellow-breasted Chat
  124. Grasshopper Sparrow
  125. Chipping Sparrow
  126. Field Sparrow
  127. Lark Sparrow
  128. White-crowned Sparrow
  129. White-throated Sparrow
  130. Harris’s Sparrow
  131. Savannah Sparrow
  132. Spotted Towhee
  133. Summer Tanager
  134. Northern Cardinal
  135. Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  136. Indigo Bunting
  137. Lazuli Bunting
  138. Painted Bunting
  139. Dickcissel
  140. Bobolink
  141. Red-winged Blackbird
  142. Eastern Meadowlark
  143. Yellow-headed Blackbird
  144. Common Grackle
  145. Great-tailed Grackle
  146. Brown-headed Cowbird
  147. Orchard Oriole
  148. Baltimore Oriole
  149. House Finch
  150. Pine Siskin
  151. American Goldfinch
  152. House Sparrow

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 10.39.26 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 10.39.05 PM
Scott and Sara Loss cracked 100 species while shopping in Tulsa!
Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 10.38.41 PM
The Heavy-Metalarks brought lots of attitude and had a great day with 121.
Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 10.37.58 PM
Terrific showing from Little Rufous Corvette in their first big day!
Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 10.37.42 PM
Roy Cruz, pretty excited about the sweet victory!

The big hero of the day, however, was Helen Jordan from the Pterodactyls.  Helen is rumored to have raised a whopping $1000 for the Payne County Audubon Society through her efforts in BIRDATHON.  Congratulations Helen, and thank you!

Now it’s your turn to be the hero:  If you haven’t already, please pop over to the DONATIONS page and reward these folks for their hard work in the field.  Every bit of your tax-deductible support is appreciated, and it goes a long way toward the PCAS’ ability to provide nature-related programming right here in our own community over the coming year. Our field trips, scholarships, lectures, etc. rely entirely on your support, and we’ll take it any time you want. If offering a donation for a particular team or team member, just follow the “Special Instructions” that show you how to do that.  Thanks!

Now, enjoy some more sights of the 2016 OK Big Day:

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 10.28.55 PM

 

 

Registered Teams for 2016

Heavy Metal-larks: Sam Cady, Cindy Park, Caitlin Laughlin, Eric Duell, and Tim O’Connell

Booby Patrol: Roy Cruz, Chris Williams, and Josh Engelbert

Little Rufous Corvette: Medhavi Ambadar, Madeleine Naylor, Ashley Love, Kaati Schreier, and Matt Waselik.

The Pterodactyls: Leslie Miller and Helen Jordan

Losscaws: Scott and Sara Loss

Special Guest Stars – Cameron Smithee & fiance’, reporting from Cimarron County!

 


 


2015 BIRDATHON Big Day Report, Payne County, OK.

From the gorgeous subtle beauty of the Milky Way before dawn to the warm long shadows of the setting sun at dusk, 14 teams enjoyed a glorious day in Payne County for the 2015 Big Day on Saturday, April 25th.  Congratulations to all the students, families, and pets(!) who competed. Congrats to Maycee Goza who won in the non-motorized category with 32 species, and to team Macawsome (Kelly Boyer, Eric Duell, Emily Sinnott, Talia Branham, and Lisa Elizondo) as the overall winners with an amazing 125 species on the day! The award for best team name went to the Inglorious Bustards (David O’Dell, Abby Randle, Zac Hemans, and Evan Flanagan). Needless to say, a fun time was had by all!

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DSCF7962 DSCF7963 DSCF7965 DSCF7969 DSCF7973 DSCF7977

Here is a list of the 107 species we found on team Steve.  We weren’t Macawsome, but we had a good day nonetheless:

Canada Goose
Gadwall
Mallard
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Hooded Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Northern Bobwhite
Wild Turkey
Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Swainson’s Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Sora
Killdeer
Upland Sandpiper – flyover before the team was fully assembled so it didn’t make our official list.
Spotted Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Least Sandpiper
Wilson’s Snipe
Franklin’s Gull
Forster’s Tern
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Mourning Dove
Greater Roadrunner
Great Horned Owl
Barred Owl
Chuck-will’s-widow
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker  – apparently nesting in the Lewis’ Woodpecker tree at Lake Carl Blackwell.
American Kestrel
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Western Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Loggerhead Shrike – Teal Ridge!
White-eyed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Purple Martin
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Carolina Wren
Bewick’s Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Brown Thrasher
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Louisiana Waterthrush  – the pinnacle of avian evolution
Black-and-white Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Harris’s Sparrow
Summer Tanager
Scarlet Tanager – My first ever in Payne County, OK!  The bird flew into the Lewis’ Woodpecker tree at Lake Carl Blackwell, sang once, and flew right over our heads heading northwest.  We clearly saw the deep red underparts, relatively short black tail, and whitish underwings of an alternate-plumaged male.
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Common Grackle
Great-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Bonus material – images from my chestboard cam:

1331:042515:81F:CAMERA2 :21254:042515:83F:CAMERA2 :2

1335:042515:88F:CAMERA2 :2 1336:042515:90F:CAMERA2 :2 1336:042515:90F:CAMERA2 :2 1350:042515:97F:CAMERA2 :2 1357:042515:99F:CAMERA2 :2 1401:042515:99F:CAMERA2 :2


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